Daytrip: How to get to the hot baths in Saturnia
Important update to this post: the heavy rains that have impacted Italy have flooded the natural pool for the hot springs in Saturnia so we don’t suggest you visit at this time. The pool itself is not damaged, just muddy. It will take a few weeks for the situation to go back to normal.
One of the least-known features of the Tuscany area is the number of hot baths it offers – the region boasts the highest number of thermal structures in Italy, thanks to the numerous water springs whose temperature ranges between 30° and 54° degrees Celsius.
While some of said springs come up and spill into commercial establishments, some are completely free to visit. Think ponds, where the water is hot throughout the year!
None are more famous than the hot baths in Saturnia, in the south of the Tuscany region and therefore very close to Rome – they’re roughly two hours north, at about 100 kilometers from the Urbs Aeterna.
“Saturnia”: what’s in a name?
Ancient Romans appreciated the hot baths in Saturnia first: you can tell by the very name of the place, a nod to the Roman God who was so angry with humans constantly fighting – according to a legend – that he threw a lightning on Earth – were it fell, hot water started to flow.
Saturnia is an extremely small village: less than 300 people live here. That doesn’t make the place remote: Saturnia is crowded throughout the year, either because of locals or tourists who are attracted by the growing notoriety of this place.
How to get to Saturnia?
The closest larger town to Saturnia is Manciano, which doesn’t have a train station but does have a bus link to Orbetello, which in turn lies on the train line connecting Rome to Pisa or the Cinque Terre. Therefore, you would have to get to Orbetello from Rome, and from Orbetello get on two distinct buses – one to Manciano, and one from Manciano to Saturnia proper.
The free hot baths are called “Cascate del Mulino“, from the mill that sits by the edge of the natural pools: you will find this name on Google Maps or other similar programs.
If traveling by train and bus seems too complex, our suggestion is to either rent a car and drive yourself (but watch out for ZTLs and speed cameras – Tuscany is very strict about speed limits) or hire a driver who can take you there and bring you back to Rome over the course of a day. You can of course contact our partners at Gianni Conti Car Service to ask for their best quote.
Are there any alternatives to the hot baths in Saturnia?
If Saturnia proves to be too crowded for your taste, there are – as mentioned – a number of other locations where you can still enjoy hot baths in the open.
For some you will need to pay a fee, while other are completely free of charge (sometimes both options are in the same village or town).
Among these relaxing destinations are Bagno Vignoni, Petriolo, Bagni di San Filippo, San Casciano dei Bagni (if you’re wondering why every place seems to be called either “Bagno” or “Bagni”, it’s because thy mean “bath/baths”!), and of course the biggest spa centers are in Chianciano Terme and Montecatini Terme, which economy is largely based on the hot springs there.